Sweetbriar Dreams

So where shall we go on our journey today?

Friday, 7 August 2015

Highclere Castle - The REAL Downton Abbey





Yes I know, it isn't quite Autumn yet and I am on a little break BUT, I know some of you were looking forward to my visit to Highclere Castle and the familiar scene of 'Downton Abbey' against the trees.  It may have not been Autumn but I can happily say it rained!  It poured! It was dark! Perfect weather for me.  So my dear readers, rather than high heels and hats, it was B&W weather (brolly and welly), so grab your coats, a flask of tea and a hot sausage roll... it's going to be a dark and wet visit! (If you are here for a brief visit and don't want the commentary, just click on a photo and then you can have your own whistlestop tour).


Along with Mumsy and me was another little visitor from Pom Pom's Ponderings - Mr Badger.  Mr Badger is with me for a couple of weeks sharing some 'hygge'.  Hygge (pronounced hooga) is a Danish word that roughly translates into coziness, creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people.  So it is only fitting that Mr Badger should stay in the Castle while we walked around the outside (well, he was not going to be cozy in the rain was he!).  Go along to Pom Pom to follow his journey and maybe book him to come to you! (can you see him in the window keeping dry?)


As the coach turned into the car park, the famous scene finally reached our eyes rather than on a screen. The modern day coats and umbrellas of the 21st century took over from the series' more elegant fashions of the early 20th century.


However once inside, the usual austere interiors of these houses were no where to be seen.  This house felt like a home.  The warmness of the decoration, the cosiness of the sofas and chairs, the personal photos of the family dotted around.  We really did feel as though this was a loved home and in some ways a lot like my grandparents home (although Highclere was slightly larger!).  Unfortunately photos were not allowed inside so I can only show the glow of lamps and the back of mirrors in windows to tease you, but if a house was ever to show 'Hygge' this was it.

(You can also click here to be taken to a Corporate Brochure that shows you inside).


The smell of the books in the library filling the row upon row of shelves that lined the walls.  The large 'curl up and sleep' sofas next to the fireplace and windows to the side framing the romantic views of the surrounding estate.  There are times when a photo could speak a thousand words but I want you to imagine coming home from a hard day's work, kicking off your shoes, a hot mug of coco and a comforting casserole's aroma filling the air, a roaring fire with the rain tapping softly at the windows and running down the pane gathering momentum as it twists and turns joining other drops, the soft yellow glow of lamps illuminating dark corners, the quiet before everyone comes home, just curling up in a soft enveloping chair. 

It feels like a deep and content sigh as the calmness overcomes you.

This is exactly how we felt in each of these beautiful rooms.


Some rooms show where Downton Abbey is filmed, such as the library, dining room, staircase, Lady Sybil's bedroom.  But we soon looked beyond 'Downton' and at the house in its own right.

Lady Sybil's bedroom from the outside
Highclere Castle was designed by Charles Barry with its ornate towers that reminded me of somewhere when we arrived.


But of course, they would do... he also designed The Palace of Westminster (Houses of Parliament) at the same time. Well, it's obvious when you look isn't it?


Even though the rain was the fine mist type that journeys on the wind, we put our hoods up and  made our way into the magnificent gardens.  So beautifully laid out and designed.  Of course a walled secret garden is always a pleasure to find.  Let me take you on a visual journey of the gardens.











Of course, all during our walk around the misty rain was relentless.  So many photos taken and trying to get light levels as high as I could but many showed the round drops on the lens.  I am not complaining though as it was glorious to walk around and there were one or two bright colours dotted around.


In amongst the gardens we came across this little folly - Jackdaw Castle, which was built in the 18th century by the uncle of the First Earl of Carnarvon (I wouldn't have thought that he personally built it unless he was very strong!).  This stands beautifully on a hill enticing you to walk amongst the columns.


The Corinthian columns sung out to me with their ornate carvings supporting the roof joists.


The view from Jackdaw Castle was of course, stunning!


Also while walking there is an amazing wildflower meadow.  This was when I cried out for the sun to shine, but this fell on deaf ears.  I can imagine when the sun smiles on these flowers that this area is stunning, not that it wasn't anyway.



Let's look at the house a bit more though!


I do love a door don't I?  This one was simple compared to some I have shown you in the past but I loved it even more for this.  The wolf's head door knocker made me think of crisp foggy evenings with the sound of horse hoofs impatiently waiting for the occupant to greet the party at the door.


The familiar entrance but without the staff of Downton to smile and welcome you.


Then there's the back of this magnificent building.  The part that I suspect in days gone by, was not on show - the busy end!


Little gates leading into what I am presuming are staff cottages. 


And a beautiful view of the mist laden trees looking as though they were rising up into a cloud.


So there we have it, Highclere Castle in a nutshell, but a mammoth post to write and choose which photos to share.  If you would like to know and follow more about Highclere, why don't you follow Lady Carnarvon's blog.  She has a lovely site with a personal insight and lots of useful information to marvel at.


Mr Badger is dry and safe back in his guest room here preparing for a walk on the Fens before he goes on his merry way to the next person.

As for this blog, well I changed colour schemes, headings, template etc etc, but ended up pretty much back to where I was in the first place.  Maybe I was just restless which is what this season does to me, but as long as my camera tells the story, and you enjoy reading it, that's all that matters.  So, I am sharing 'Hygge' with you.  Sitting around our screens around the world discussing life in warm and friendly surroundings.

It's good to be back!



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The Enchanting RoseI'm sharing with:
Sundays Down Under
http://rootedinthyme.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/the-international-rose-test-garden-and.html
Our World Tuesday Graphic

58 comments:

  1. Hello Chel, it's great to see you back to share this wonderful post about Highclere and Downton Abbey. Wow what a wonderful place to visit! I loved looking at all the wonderful photos and learning more about it!
    I do hope you are enjoying summer. Take care and be well.
    Julie xo

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  2. So neat! I think I watched a documentary on Highclere Castle once. You really get around England, lucky duck!

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  3. Oh I loved this post. To be able to tour this beautiful home. what a great treat. thank you so much for all the lovely photo's.
    I will be so sorry that January will be the end of Downton Abby - I really loved that show.
    Have a great weekend.
    Mary

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  4. Oh, thank you so much for the tour of Highclere Castle! What a treat. I was a bit surprised and happy to hear that the interior is as warm and inviting as you said. I thought, perhaps it was a bit over the top. It's nice that it feels like someone's home. You all get to see season 6 of Downton Abbey in a month or so. We have to wait until January.

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  5. An amazing tour, Chel! Thank you for taking us along and for the wonderful photos taken from your unique perspective! I can imagine myself walking there with you. So nice to know the rooms are as cozy as they seem on the show. I especially love the gardens and the views from afar. Lovely post!

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  6. Love hearing from you---and you never disappoint. I simply love these pictures and your narrative make it all seem even more breathtaking. Please...let fate have me come for a visit soon!

    Hope all is well...

    Jane x

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  7. Chel is was so fun to see this beautiful palace through your eyes. Some great shots of places that most of us would not have seen on TV. Thank you for sharing. Have a lovely day. Jo

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  8. That was a great tour, its certainly on my to visit list. Thanks for sharing.

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  9. Chel,
    To say I enjoy your tours is an understatement. Your narrative, your humor, your taking us there in our minds eye through your delightful photography ... Always so enjoyable. I love your Brit expressions and especially the B&W - Brolly and Welly, I'm going to use your description! I was intrigued by how you captured the window shots and made it mysterious and inviting oh and I so want to have a secret garden to explore and grow flowers in the proper English way.
    I have returned from my blogging break! I sure missed reading everyone's posts. Chel I put up lots of renovation photos and shared. Did I tell you our Philadelphia row-home is stone and built in the English Tudor style?
    Have a fun filled adventurous weekend.
    XO,
    Vera

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  10. Beautiful...thank you for sharing...I always enjoy your visits here and there. Blessings

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  11. I enjoyed seeing Highclere Castle through your eyes... I almost expected the Downton Abbey cast to be strolling among you! I especially loved the gardens. You've captured some lovely details of the house as well!

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  12. Chel,
    Even with all the rain your pictures are beautiful. Downton Abbey is my favorite series I will be sad this is the last season.
    What a beautiful place to live so full of such history. Thanks for the tour.
    Kris

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  13. How fun! Thanks for sharing your lovely photos.

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  14. Only being along side you, or tucked in your pocket, would have been better than this lovely post Chel! Hey, I would have even held the brolly for you as you snapped - if you would do the same for me - two 'photo fools' together!! I also have good waterproof wellies from all those Zodiac boat landings in wild places!

    I love it all even without interiors - but what astounded were the gorgeous gardens and that amazing greenhouse which looks like it goes on forever! The arched brick wall and the folly are so beautiful. I'd even like to live in the staff quarters behind one of those rustic gates. Yes, Downton Abbey will be greatly missed when over - perhaps I'll have to spring for the DVD series so I can sit again in my dotage (OK so it's already here I guess), when hopefully senility does NOT take over, and I can watch in wonder all over again.

    Lovely blog - glad you are back Chel dear.
    Hugs - Mary

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  15. What gorgeous gardens, and amazing building! I don't watch Downton Abbey, but do appreciate the lovely countryside pics you've shared.

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  16. Thanks for the tour. Great photos - it was almost like being there in person.

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  17. Chel, that was a beautiful tour of Highclerc. I think even in the rain the photos came out beautifully. You got some great long shots too. Thank you! Enjoy the rest of your blog break. xx Pam

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  18. Hi Chel,
    Thanks for the photos and for the explanations. Thanks to you we are able to visit this lovely place.
    take care,
    Arlette

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  19. Glad you had a good time and that Mr Badger enjoyed it too! xx

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  20. So happy to see you back Chel! I haven't been around as much recently either but I did manage to put up a post today. I so enjoyed these lovely photos. The badger idea is a fun one! I too enjoy a rainy day which is a good thing as we have certainly had our fair share recently. I do hope you are doing well and I look forward to future posts. Have a lovely weekend.

    Hugs, Vicky

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  21. We're late to the party but hubby and I are now huge fans of Downton Abbey. We have all 5 seasons on DVD. I'm very anxious for the 6th and final season. Hope they leave the Bates' alone! *giggle* They're my favorite couple. It would be so grand to actually visit Highclere Castle. Maybe ... some ... day [wistful look] Thanks for sharing your visit. ~:)

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  22. A wonderful day, not ruined by the weather! Loved the little peeks into the windows - I was able to imagine what was going on inside those lovely rooms.
    So glad you are back to blogging, even if it is a little sporadic for the summer. I love hearing from you!

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  23. Oh what a fabulous post! Your photos are wonderful- loved how you captured the details too-
    I'm a huge fan of the show and visiting Highclere is on my must see (someday) list :)
    Cheers!

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  24. Once again a wonderful tour. I have never seen Downton Abbey and sometimes think I am the only person on the planet who hasn't. I enjoy costume dramas though and as my mum has some of the series on DVD I think I'll borrow from her.

    Diana

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  25. This was a treat, Chel! I've not watched Downton Abbey regularly, although I keep saying I'm going to binge-watch all the seasons. I would really love to visit this house someday! Hope you are feeling recharged after your break.

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  26. This post was a perfect accompaniment to tea, soft music and a comfy couch on a cold nigh in Sydney. I'm halfway through series 5 at the moment.

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  27. What a lovely tour...something I hope to see in person one day! Thanks so much for following my twitter feed...it led me to your beautiful blog...now happily following on Bloglovin!

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  28. Welcome back, Chel. Wonderful tour - and your photos (as usual) are sumptuous - despite the weather. Shame you couldn't photo inside - how frustrating!

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  29. Thanks for taking us on your journey - the rainy day made your photos atmospheric but I'm sure you would have preferred to not be dodging the raindrops!!

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  30. Looking at the photos I felt I knew it intimately. That's what TV does to you. Thanks for the tour but I've got to see this for myself!

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  31. Hello Chel, what a wonderful tour! And I love the secret garden, beautiful images. Thanks for sharing your visit. Have a happy new week ahead!

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  32. Wow.. Looks like a lovely visit to the castle. I am jealous in a good way. I glad that you were able to visit and share your expeir noes with us. You captured really nice photos. Thank you.

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  33. Thank you for all your lovely photos! So wonderful!

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  34. Wow - impressive house and superb photos.

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  35. The countryside in England is truly stunning ( even in the pouring rain!) What a stunning estate and what a responsibility to keep it up and how nice that they open part of it to the public. ( It is not part of the National Trust?)
    Thank you for taking us along.

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  36. Lovely post! I felt as if I was walking right alongside you for the entire tour. The greenhouse is amazing and so is the secret garden!

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  37. Such a lovely post, it's a beautiful place. I like hot sunny weather, but your photos in the rain really are gorgeous. I've tried to get on a coach trip to Highclere but it's always fully booked :-( Must keep trying.

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  38. What a phenomenal place this is! What a thrill this must have been to visit...I can only imagine. The beauty of the architecture, the furnishings, the gardens...all so gorgeous. I do have to say that the meadow of wildflowers would be one of my favorite places there! Thank you for the tour! Sure going to miss Downton Abbey after this year :(

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  39. Oh wow I would love to go there, it was great to see the grounds and the little glimpses into the house.Thanks of sharing about your visit!

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  40. Thank you so much for sharing this amazing visit... I feel like re-watching Downtown Abbey tonight!

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  41. These pictures are absolutely stunning!

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  42. Hi Chel, I have nominated you for the Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award. Here is the link:http://thammieetcompagnie.blogspot.fr/2015/08/sisterhood-of-world-blogger-award.html

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  43. popping over from Pom Pom's. What beautiful photos!!! I just love it!

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  44. Thank you :-) I loved the tour.
    Carla

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  45. Thank you for taking us along on the tour, fabulous. I am sending this post on to my daughter, she loves Downton Abbey, so I am sure she will love looking at the photos you took.

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  46. How exciting to walk the grounds of that great castle. I would love to visit to see the inside! I will miss that show!

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  47. Today is cool and a faint mist is beginning to form outside - perfect weather for reading this post and walking around Highclere with you. Utterly delightful. Thank you for sharing your visit with us.

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  48. Dearest Chel, you create such an enchanting place here on your blog with your magical photos. After looks at your pictures and reading your words I feel as though I have been there - thank you for that, my friend. I will be featuring this beautiful post at Roses of Inspiration on Monday afternoon....thank you for sharing.

    Love and hugs to you, my friend!

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  49. I just discovered your blog from your feature at Sunday's Down Under! I absolutely loved this tour and am now following you on bloglovin and google Plus!

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  50. Lovely! I have driven past the turning many times but have never stopped. Enjoyed your tour! We are Brits, so love this!
    Ruth

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  51. Oh, Chel, I'm visiting from The Enchanting Rose today and am so delighted to "visit with you" Highclere and Downton Abbey! Both my husband and I have so enjoyed watching the beautiful castle and love the beauty of yesteryear...the manners and etiquette. What a wonderful trip indeed. Thanks for sharing it with us! Hugs!

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  52. I throughly enjoyed my visit at Highclere as you strolled about that magnificent place. Thanks you for sharing it. I am so sad that Downton Abbey is having it's last season soon.

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  53. Lovely post .... and high on my wishlist to visit once. Thanks for sharing! Anita xx

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  54. Oh it looks so beautiful! We ALMOST went there 2 weeks ago as we were staying near Abingdon and it wasn't too far to Newbury but in the end we went to Blenheim instead!

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Thank you so much for visiting, I love reading your comments and will answer either by email or on the blog. You can also email me privately in my side bar. Have a great day x

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